By Cheryl Sullenger
Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has revoked four abortion facility licenses of abortion clinics associated with criminal abortionist James Scott Pendergraft, IV.
The revocations were effective on March 27, 2018. Facilities involved were:
• Ft. Lauderdale Women’s Center
• Ocala Women’s Center
• Orlando Women’s Center
The revocations were made as a result of Pendergraft’s October 2017 drug convictions in South Carolina. Pendergraft and a female associate were arrested near the community of Spartanburg on October 5, 2015. At that time, Sheriff Chuck Wright stated in a press conference, “We got a guy and a girl early in the week that was a traveling abortionist. He traveled around the state of South Carolina without a medical license, with drugs and with medical tools, performing in-home abortions. So basically, we got an illegal baby killer.”
Pendergraft, who was never licensed to practice in South Carolina, was never charged with operating the illegal abortion scheme out of the back of his van.
However, Pendergraft pled guilty on to ten criminal Felony and Misdemeanor counts including Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Marijuana and LSD, Possession and Distribution Prescription Drugs without a Prescription, and Manufacture and Possession of Schedule I & II Substances.
Those convictions disqualified him from owning or operating any medical facility in Florida.
The AHCA filed suit to close Pendergraft’s abortion facilities. Pendergraft had appealed the revocation orders, but the court ruled on March 26, 2018, that the revocations should stand.
That should have been the end of it. It wasn’t.
While it is true that two abortion facilities had previously closed, others remain open for business under dubious circumstances.
The Ocala Women’s Center voluntarily shut down in October 2015. The EPOC clinic, which is still owned by Pendergraft through his 609 Virginia Drive LLC, has been closed for some months, supposedly “for renovations.” With the recent facility license revocation, EPOC cannot legally reopen at this time.
Orlando Women’s Center name change
The Orlando Women Center, Pendergraft’s flagship abortion facility, is one of the clinics that remains open. It has undergone a name change to Center of Orlando for Women. Pendergraft has transferred ownership to Denise Williams, who is reportedly an ex-wife and the mother of two of his children.
“This transaction is most likely a change in paperwork only. I suspect that Pendergraft will still be just as involved in the abortion business as ever,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, who notes that disgraced New Jersey abortionist Steven Chase Brigham employed the same tactic to keep his abortion businesses open after his medical license was revoked. Brigham, who could be in competition with Pendergraft for the title of “America’s Most Deceptive Abortionist,” remains involved with his businesses to this day.
The new Center of Orlando for Women applied for an abortion facility license and was granted it despite the involvement long-time Pendergraft employee Megan Clemente, who currently serves as clinic administrator.
But another major issue involves the designated medical director. The Center of Orlando for Women’s license application lists troubled abortionist Randall Whitney, a long-time associate of Pendergraft’s. However, Whitney’s medical license is currently under indefinite suspension for improperly prescribing controlled substances, making it legally impossible for him to serve in that capacity. Whitney also has a history of criminal patient abuse.
Ft. Lauderdale Women’s Center illegally operating?
The Fort Lauderdale Women’s Center’s license was revoked on March 27, 2018, and no ownership transfers are on record. Nevertheless, the abortion facility continues to conduct abortions – apparently illegally.
A complaint against the facility was filed on April 7, 2018, by Broward Right to Life, which says at least 34 abortions have taken place at the unlicensed facility between March 27 and April 7.
The complaint lists Planned Parenthood abortionist and part-time Pendergraft associate Harvey C. Roth as being on duty during the alleged illegal abortions. Roth appears to be related to the notorious Michigan “Trunk Abortionist” Michael Roth, according to research done by Michigan pro-life activist Lynn Mills. Michael Roth was convicted last year of three counts of larceny for stealing drugs and medical equipment for use in his illegal home abortion scheme after the stolen goods and the remains of aborted babies were discovered in his vehicle’s trunk following a traffic accident.
An investigation into the Fort Lauderdale Women’s Center is currently underway.
Women’s Center of Hyde Park
One of Pendergraft’s abortion businesses not subject to the lawsuit is Women’s Center of Hyde Park, located in Tampa. Ownership was transferred to Denise Williams on October 28, 2010. Since then, the Women’s Center of Hyde Park has been fined seven times, primarily for failure to file termination of pregnancy reports.
However, the Women’s Center of Hyde Park is listed as one of five abortion facilities on WomensCenter.com, which boasts with verbosity about its founder, James Scott Pendergraft.
As far as can be determined, it has just been business as usual at Pendergraft’s abortion chain since the facility license revocations were issued. The two facilities that were already closed remain shut down. The three facilities that operated prior to the revocations continue to operate today.
The two facilities that have opted to shift ownership – at least on paper – continue to be run by those close to Pendergraft, with the same staff.
The Center of Orlando For Women operates without a currently licensed medical director, and Fort Lauderdale Women’s Center appears to be operating illegally without a valid abortion facility license. Both should be shut down permanently.
“Pendergraft is one of the most deceptive and deceitful abortionists in the nation. We have long documented his illegal operations and efforts to evade the law,” said Newman. “There can be no redemption for these facilities. They will continue to operate in violation until the ACHA realized their deceptive practices and permanently prevents them from operating. Pendergraft and his cohorts have had a long run killing babies, injuring women, and operating outside the law. Enough is enough. It’s time to shut them down.”
Note: Some of the documents used in this article graciously were provided by Liberty Counsel and Michele Herzog.